On 47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NIRH Calls on States to Strengthen Protections for Reproductive Freedom

January 22, 2020
Contact: Julien Martinez, [email protected], 347-229-2517

One year after the passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in New York State, NIRH pledges to continue working with partners and advocates to pass proactive reproductive health, rights and justice policies in states throughout 2020

NEW YORK – Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), released the following statement today on the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the one-year anniversary of New York’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA). Since the landmark Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, Roe has been under siege, leaving in place a patchwork of access across the country, where someone’s ability to get abortion care relies on their ZIP code and income level. NIRH works with partners in more than 20 states each year to advance proactive protections for reproductive health care, including abortion access – and in 2019, a record nine states did so, according to the organization’s Gaining Ground report. NIRH also worked for a decade in New York to pass the historic Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which was enacted one year ago today. The RHA recognizes abortion as a fundamental right and expands access to care. The RHA set a precedent for other states seeking to advance proactive legislation and kicked off a year in which more states passed proactive protections for abortion than ever before.

“For the past 47 years, hostile politicians and judges have chipped away at the protections Roe v. Wade offers, placing politics before health care and creating an opening for states to pass more than 1,200 medically unjustified restrictions on access to abortion care,” said Andrea Miller, President of NIRH. “In the face of these attacks, NIRH is working with partners and advocates across the country to solidify state-level protections and expand access to abortion. While anti-abortion extremists seek to remove the baseline protections afforded by Roe, states and cities have an opportunity and an obligation to raise the upper limit of protections: through innovative policymaking, they can expand access to care in a way that reflects the views of the majority of this country. In 2020, we will build on the momentum of the Reproductive Health Act and similar laws to reach every statehouse and every community in our fight to protect and advance reproductive freedom.”

Among the wins from 2019, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont all enacted laws that codify a fundamental right to abortion. Maine guaranteed Medicaid coverage for abortion, and Nevada repealed a criminal ban on self-managed abortion. In 2020, NIRH is working with partners in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia to continue expanding access to abortion, creating as many oases for abortion access as possible.


The National Institute for Reproductive Health builds power at the state and local level to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.

Using a partnership model, NIRH provides state and local advocates with strategic guidance, hands-on support, and funding to create national change from the ground up. We form strategic partnerships with a wide range of organizations to directly impact the reproductive health and lives of women across the country. Each year, NIRH works in about half the states and more than a dozen localities; to date, NIRH has partnered with 175 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in 43 states and 64 localities across the country.